Comment by Jim Campbell
October 21, 2019
One must remember when they see the word “Could” they must also think “Could Not.”
It’s not a statement bases of fact but a probability.
One thing is certain, If Iran were to attack Israel, make no mistake about it, The United States, if needed, would join Israel and give Iran and “E-ticket,” ride to Allah.
When dealing with theocratic leadership no one has any idea about what they are likely to do at any moment in time.
Neither do they for that matter.
The Washington Examiner
October 21, 2019
President Trump is right: People are sick and tired of expensive and seemingly never-ending U.S. military deployments.
Mission creep, conflating initial war aims in Afghanistan and Iraq with nation-building, cost trillions of dollars and several thousand lives.
Below is the Israeli Phalanx Close-in air defense system (by Raytheon) engaging incoming missiles. !!!!
But even by realist standards, which downplay the importance of maintaining an alliance with Syrian Kurds, acquiescence to Turkish demands could have consequences far beyond Turkey.
Why? Because the propaganda purveyor is from Al Jazeera.
Speaking at the Herat Security Dialogue late last week, Roland Kobia, the European Union’s special envoy for Afghanistan, declared that for Europeans “diplomacy is in our DNA.” But diplomacy is not a catch-all like its supporters claim.
When all parties are sincere in their desire for conflict resolution it works, but other regimes and terrorist groups see the Western commitment to diplomacy as a weakness to exploit.
“Operation Nickel Glass.”
For these adversaries, deterrence more than diplomacy stops wars and ensures peace.
As the late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden explained, “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, they will naturally want to side with the strong horse.”
But deterrence is as much psychological as it is militarily, and it is here that the ramifications of Turkey’s onslaught against Syrian Kurds may be greatest.
Turkey’s animosity against the Kurds is well-known and, in recent years, largely unidirectional.
Ironically, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan labels the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Defense Forces as terrorists, the group secured the Turkish border better than the Syrian government or the post-civil war Turkish proxy groups which previously operated in the neighborhood.
In its own misguided war against supposed Kurdish terrorism, Erdoğan may very well have undermined rather than enhanced his own security.
Nor does acquiescence to Turkish demands restore the partnership.
There is a long-established pattern to Erdoğan:
He blusters to extract concessions. When they are granted, he demands more. When he is confronted, however, he stands down.
Those who said Turkey would invade against the opposition of Washington and despite the presence of U.S. forces simultaneously misunderstand Erdoğan but acknowledge his fundamental hostility.
Many U.S. commentators have debated the ramifications of Trump’s decision to reverse support for the Syrian Kurds.
On one hand, many American officials say the decision to cease support for the Syrian Defense Forces sends a signal to the Kurds and other indigenous groups not to partner with the United States in the future.
On the other hand, some analysts say this is an exaggerated concern.
The same realism that directed the original partnership will enable new ones when mutual interests dictate.
The former is probably a stronger argument.
Egyptians and Saudis say a constant theme of Russian influence operations is that Moscow stands by their allies no matter what they do, even if they use chemical weapons.
The U.S., in contrast, is untrustworthy.
Here is where the real danger lies.
Trump’s rhetoric of ending hostile wars and his questioning of U.S. presence in the region could just as easily apply to other conflicts.
Trump says the Turks and Kurds have fought each other for centuries. Haven’t Arabs and Persians done likewise?
The Arab-Israeli conflict is more than seven decades-long, and Muslim hostility toward Jews predates that by centuries.
For the first time, Iranian leaders may truly believe they can undermine U.S. partnerships with Gulf Arab states and Israel by threatening war.
If the U.S. will so readily dump the Kurds because they are 7,000 miles away anyway, why would the U.S. stand up for Bahrain, the center of U.S. naval presence in the region but also a country who, in its entirety, Iran claims as within its historical zone of influence?
That the U.S. has yet to respond to clear Iranian provocations against international shipping in allied states’ waters only underscores the sense that the U.S. is at best a paper tiger.
The situation with Iran and Israel may be even more dangerous.
Many analysts look narrowly at the implications of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime taking control over northeastern Syria or allowing Iranian proxies to operate in Syrian territory.
The problem is greater, however.
The Iranian leadership’s hostility toward Israel is both ideological and uncompromising.
Tehran already believed it was making inroads against Israel as Democratic Party hostility to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emboldened the progressive wing of the party, which saw Israel more as an adversary than as an ally.
Iran also believed that the Obama administration’s desperation for the Iran nuclear deal, an agreement which both left Iran with an industrial-scale nuclear program and had an expiration date on its monitoring and controls — put it in good stead to erode Israel’s strategic position.
Now, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iran’s clerical leadership question whether the U.S. would even respond to a more aggressive and immediate assault on the Jewish state.
In 1973, the U.S. came to Israel’s rescue when Arab armies launched a surprise attack on Judaism’s holiest day.
Operation Nickel Grass may have helped Israel survive the initial assault and to reverse initial defeats.
Iranian leaders may read Trump, however, and those to whom he now listens (Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, for example) as unwilling to mobilize the same forces or to risk broader war.
Simply put, for the first time, Iranian leaders may believe they can get away with an assault on Israel.
Wars in the Middle East are caused not by oil or water, but by overconfidence.
A generation of Iranian military leaders have risen through the ranks without any experience of suffering meaningful consequences to their own aggression. Meanwhile, U.S. deterrence in the region is in freefall because of a sense among both allies and adversaries Washington does not stand up for its partners.
What is happening to the Kurds is tragic.
But if Iranian analysts conclude, as many seem to be doing, that Iran can get away with regional aggression and solve either the Bahraini, Saudi, or Israeli “problems” once and for all, then the consequences to regional and world order could be grave.
Michael Rubin (@Mrubin1971) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. He is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon official.